Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the day was “a long time coming for our people and our customers”.
“It’s wonderful to see Australians able to reunite with loved ones after such a long time apart,” he said. “It’s been very challenging time for our international crew, with many of them stood down since March 2020.”
WAYFARER’s James Wilkinson reviews the Qantas Boeing 787-9 Business Class cabin
Some 11,000 Qantas international staff members are expected to be back on the job before the end of 2021.
“We are in the process of standing up our Australian-based team members who are excited to get back to doing what they love,” Joyce said.
He said Qantas was back in the global skies thanks to the rapid uptake in vaccinations by Australians.
A Qantas Boeing 787-9 takes off
“We are back in the air earlier than anticipated thanks to the millions of people who turned out in droves to get vaccinated,” he said. “This made it possible for the Federal, and NSW and Victorian governments to open up Australia’s borders and remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.”
Joyce said all passengers on Qantas International flights are required to be fully vaccinated, unless they are under 12 years old, are 12-17 year olds travelling to Australia with their family or guardian or have an exemption.
“International travel may be a little different for a while with some new requirements and guidelines in place, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Qantas’ commitments to safety and premium service. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome everyone back on board,” he said.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (right) with 787 captain Lisa Norman
Qantas Customer Services Supervisor on QF12 from Los Angeles, Adrienne Innes, said being back in the air was the highlight of her year.
“It was amazing to welcome back our passengers, and the whole team was really emotional and excited to be able to take care of them on their journey home.”
Qantas are now operating international flights between Sydney and London and Los Angeles, with flights to other destinations relaunching in coming weeks.
Initial flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents in line with Federal Government requirements.